9/11 anniversary memorial: how many people died in World Trade Center attacks in New York?
Friday 11 September is the 19th anniversary of the plane attacks on the Twin Towers in New York where thousands of people lost their lives.
Friday marks the 19th anniversary of one of the worst attacks even witnesses on the United States of America, the attack on the Twin Towers that took place on 11 September 2001 in New York. It began at 08:46 when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was first impacted by a passenger plane, and chaos ensued.
Almost 3,000 people lost in 9/11 attacks
As we found out later from the investigation that was launched after the terrorist attack, on that fateful September morning four planes, from American Airlines and United Airlines, were hijacked by a total of 19 Al Qaeda members. Of the four planes, two crashed directly into the Twin Towers, another ended up hitting one of the Pentagon buildings, and the other did not reach its target, ending up in an open field in Pennsylvania.
The attack killed 2,996 people, including the 19 terrorists and the 24 victims whose remains have never been recovered. To date, only around 60% of the deceased have been identified, with five more added to the list in recent years thanks to advances in DNA extraction.
President George W. Bush's reaction to the attack
Around noon on 11 September, the then president, George W. Bush, declared the country was on "high alert" after stating that "terrorism against the nation will not survive." Later, he spoke defiantly to the nation from the Oval Office:
“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil -- the very worst of human nature -- and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
“Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.
“The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
“I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.
“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.
“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
“Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.”